The man behind the music

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Breanna Hill, News Editor

Starting January 4 and ending January 10 there was a round of spectacular performances put on by several JSU Gamecocks in the production of Peter Pan. Talent could be found in every aspect of the elegant recreation of the tale we all grew up hearing about time and time again.

There are several key elements that blend to form a successful production, one of the most compelling being centered on music. The musical component of any production is crucial—it can change the dynamic, and add so much to the storyline. The musical component draws out the emotion, and makes you realize just how deep and sincere moments truly are.  The Peter Pan production, which took place at the Oxford Performing Arts Center, had every element of a successful musical locked into place right off the bat. It is often understood that great music calls for a great conductor. Jacksonville State’s very own Matt Davenport, a music education major, has proven this even more by conducting the musical aspect of the production.

Matt was originally just filling in as conductor at rehearsals while Dr. Benson was in Italy with the Marching Southerners. Benson ended up offering Davenport the opportunity to conduct the entire thing all by himself. When asked how the overall experience was working with the cast and crew, Davenport said, “The show was such a wonderful experience for me; rewarding and challenging in the best possible ways.”

How does one begin to appreciate music enough to dedicate so much time and energy into it? If you were able to peek into the life of any musical genius you would most likely be able to find out that they were taught by incredibly talented music directors, who not only taught them how to play instruments, but encouraged them as well. Matt continues to share how grateful he is for those musical opportunities that his high school band program had presented him.

Though music has always been an important part of Davenport’s life, it wasn’t his first idea when it came time to choose a major. Matt recalled always wanting to teach, and he had planned on being a history major—but that plan went out the window nearly instantly; music was the way to go.

The Peter Pan production allowed many gifted and talented people to share their art and talent with all who was fortunate enough to attend. Going to events such as this can cause you to come to the realization that the arts truly are a gift, an outlet, and even a way of life.

Make sure you keep an eye on the endless concerts that the talented musicians here at Jacksonville State put on throughout each semester.

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